Bad movies that hurt so good
Edward D. Wood Jr. is often cited as the worst filmmaker of all-time. The writer, director and actor made many films, but his most well known - popular is the wrong word - were "Glen or Glenda," "Bride of the Monster" and "Plan 9 From Outer Space." He is immortalized by Tim Burton in the film "Ed Wood," which starred Johnny Depp as Wood, but was not seen by many (budget: $18 million, domestic gross: $5.9 million). You should rent "Ed Wood," as it's a fascinating study of the man and the low-budget movie making business. If you're daring and enjoy a good chuckle, rent some of Wood's actual films.
Like any movie buff, I have seen scores of bad movies over the years. Truly horrible ones? Far fewer.
There are differences not only in the degree of "bad," but also in type. There's "bad" boring, "bad" dumb, and even "bad" inane - but then there's also "bad" hilarious. In other words, most bad movies will leave you annoyed, frustrated and/or confused, and in some cases actually move you to anger. Generally they all lead to disappointment. In contrast, an awful movie can be quite satisfying.
Tommy Wiseau, the director and writer of "The Room" has talent. This movie is by far the worst I have ever seen. But it's wonderful. It should be required viewing for every film school student as an example (well hundreds, really) of what not to do when trying to make a movie.
"The Room" is ostensibly a drama about a guy named Johnny (played by Wiseau) whose girlfriend Lisa is cheating on him with his best friend, Mark. That's pretty much it for the story, although you can tell in an interview in the DVD's extras that Wiseau thinks there's a lot more going on.
Going into too much more detail will ruin the experience of the Room, should you choose to watch it. Suffice it to say, the dialogue is pathetic, the staging and art direction are lame (my wife swears she saw the Sesame Street set, complete with Oscar's trash can), the unrealistic greenscreen scenes - and interminable love scenes - will leave you howling, and the acting is pedestrian in most cases. Still, I have to give an honourable mention to the actress (over)playing Lisa's mother. Someone should report her to the acting police; her list of offences is long.
I heard about "The Room" from an article in Entertainment Weekly http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20246031,00.html that explains its whole history, which is fascinating but too lengthy to go into here. Apparently many hollywood stars love the movie, including Will Arnett, Paul Rudd and Kristen Bell. Bell even hosts "The Room" viewing parties. There are midnight viewings in some US cities (staged in a similar way to showings of the Rocky Horror Picture Show) and Wiseau sometimes shows up. He insists "The Room" is supposed to be partly comedic and the DVD cover mentions the film's black humour. Don't be fooled. It's meant to be a drama. And that just makes it so much better.